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Baked Falafel Salad Bowl

Baked Falafel Salad Bowl | A Couple CooksBaked Falafel Salad Bowl | A Couple CooksBaked Falafel Salad Bowl | A Couple CooksBaked Falafel Salad Bowl | A Couple CooksCultivating a wholehearted life is not like trying to reach a destination. It’s like walking toward a star in the sky. We never really arrive, but we certainly know that we’re heading in the right direction. ~Brené Brown

At some point in life, you begin to realize that everything is a journey. I lived in Madrid for a while in college, and my heart pined after becoming fluent in Spanish. After the semester was over, I realized fluency was not so much an arrival, but a place on a sliding scale. Was I fluent? I certainly didn’t feel it, but I could make my way around. I realized then that fluency would be a lifelong process, and whether I was really “there” would be different based on how I viewed myself or how I was viewed by others around me.

This concept seems to hold true for many skills or roles we have in life. I’m certainly much further along on the journey of cooking and eating than when we started dabbling seven years ago, but I’m still overwhelmed by how much there is to learn. So instead of chasing after “I can cook” or “I eat healthy”, at this point in life I’m content with simply walking towards those places.

And with those baby steps, we’re inching forward. Case in point: we’ve made countless failed falafel recipes over the past five years, so many that we stopped even trying. Falafel is one of my favorite foods (get some here if you’re even in Paris), but I had resigned to only eating it at restaurants. We decided to try one more time the other day with some baked falafel, and miraculously, it worked! Of the many variables, we found dried, soaked chickpeas for the dough holds together much better than canned. The baked version doesn’t taste quite like the decadence of fried falafel, but the flavor and texture work in this bowl version. We enjoyed this with some dear friends the other night (check their blog here) and it was delicious. It’s a great option to please vegetarian, vegan (with our substitution dressing below), and gluten-free diets.

Cheers to you on your own journeys, whatever they may be…

PS Do you know Brené Brown’s work? I’m a huge fan and am reading The Gifts of Imperfection now, which is where I found the quote above. The tagline of the book is spot on: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Our philosophies of embracing whole foods and cooking eating mesh well with her work on wholeheartedness and vulnerability.

Baked Falafel Salad Bowl
Tip: For a vegan or plant-based option, use Lemon Tahini Dressing.
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ large or 1 small red onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (do not substitute table salt)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ head large red cabbage
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 12 to 16 cups lettuce or salad greens
What To Do
  1. Soak chickpeas 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Peel 4 cloves garlic; place them in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced. Peel the onion and cut it into rough chunks; add to the bowl and process again until chopped. To the bowl, add soaked chickpeas, ½ cup fresh parsley, ½ cup fresh cilantro, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon ground coriander, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Process until smooth and a dough comes together, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. To form the falafel patties, take a few tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball and then pat it flat. Keep the patties as uniform as possible so they have a similar thickness. Bake the patties for 24 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  4. While the patties bake, make the dressing (Creamy Cilantro Dressing below, or this plant-based option).
  5. Thinly slice the red cabbage and cucumber. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Clean the salad greens.
  6. To serve, place greens in a large bowl. Top with falafel patties, cabbage, cucumber, and tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Creamy Cilantro Dressing
Serves: 2 cups
What You Need
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons water
What To Do
  1. Peel the garlic cloves. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.


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  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 7:24 am

    I recently moved to Chile from the States and I am still struggling to become fluent in Spanish so I totally understand what you mean. This falafel looks delicious and I’m so glad for you that you found a recipe you like. I’ll definitely remember to try this!

  • Reply
    Cara's Healthy Cravings
    June 29, 2015 at 7:32 am

    I adore falafel salad bowls! I always make a big batch of falafels to have some stashed in my freezer. Looking forward to trying the cilantro dressing.

  • Reply
    Alexa [fooduzzi.com]
    June 29, 2015 at 8:09 am

    WOW. This salad is just beautiful! I’ve never tried a falafel before, but this salad is inspiring me to try my hand at making my own very soon!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Using dried, soaked chickpeas is the key to success for falafels! The first time I tried making some, I used canned chickpeas and it is impossible to have them hold their shape when deep frying (unless you add egg or flour in them but even with that I’m not sure it works). It can work for baked falafel though, but they will very likely crumble when eating.
    For falafel that hold their shape, use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight. Pat them dry (they must be completely dry on the surface!) and pulse them in a food processor, until a paste formes but that it is still crumbly. You don’t want a smooth paste. Then place in a bowl and add the spices, chopped herbs (at them completely dried as well! The key is to have a mix as dry as possible, or the falafels will fall apart), pre-minced garlic and onion, as well as a tbsp baking soda (for 500g dried chickpeas, adjust if needed). But don’t put olive oil in! You could also pulse everything together as you did. Then you can form the falafels and deep fry them, and I promise they will hold their shape! Don’t pack the patties too much or they won’t cook inside and they will be too heavy, but press them a bit though so that they stick together.
    I always make my falafels this way and they never fail. However my repice does not work for baking, which I like to do as well since it’s healthier and less messy than deep frying. I haven’t found the good recipe for baked falafel until now, so I’ll try yours. I think adding olive oil makes them moist inside while my recipe lacks moisture when baked.

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    June 29, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I really like Brene Brown’s work and love how you said you’re “content simply walking towards those places”. I think once we can fully embrace the fact that there is no “there”, then we can throw out our desperate grasps for perfection. It makes the present much more enjoyable and all we ever have is the present moment, after all. Love a good falafel so I’m excited about this falafel bowl!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Thank you for the new printed version of your recipes. It’s so helpful to see a photo of the prepared food on the more compact-sized print out!

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      I’m glad you like it!

  • Reply
    Deborah @ The Harvest Kitchen
    June 30, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I love falafel and I love the idea of it being baked rather than fried! Beautiful salad!!

  • Reply
    Sarah | Well and Full
    June 30, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I love what you wrote about life being a journey. Personally, I’m always making goals for myself and mentally going on autopilot until that goal is reached. After I read your post I started thinking about how I kind of ignore the journey – like in my Yoga Teacher Training, how all I think about is the “goal” of being a Yoga Teacher, and not the actual process of learning HOW to be one. (Which is kind of silly, now that I think about it, because Yoga is all about being in the present moment!) But it’s really easy to get caught up in goal-actualization. Thank you for writing about it – it made me think :)

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 8:08 am

    yummy!! falafel is so delicious :D


  • Reply
    September 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve never made my own falafel so thank you for this recipe! I think falafel is a great meat replacement for a meal and always fills me up – its packed with great healthy, tasty ingredients as well which is a bonus! Thanks for the great post!

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